By Jaimi Erickson
It is my most vivid fall memory. I cherish all the details. My son was living his best life. He was freely climbing on the old-fashioned playground with antique farm vehicles. Little-boy heaven.
As my husband kept an eye on him, I sat with my baby in the grass. My infant daughter was grasping at blades of grass with her tiny, delicate baby fingers. She was mesmerized — so focused on the cool, green blades.
Watching the kids playing in the cool, bright day is forever positioned in my memory. The feeling of it all is the real celebration. These little details are what matter most.
The time spent on memorable events fills a special spot in my heart. It is the smiles and experiences that I appreciate most. There were probably some tantrums and tears. What family event with children is free of them?
But, I don’t recall focusing on that. I just remember the peace and joy of the experience.
This is the season I focus on gratitude for the little things.
Fall is a season of crisp air, perfect nights, and loads of orange everything! Pumpkin patches, apple picking and food truck festivals are plentiful. Meaningful ways to celebrate fall as a family help build memories for a lifetime. Within these major events, the little moments become the cherished ones.
This fall, I want to channel that perfect fall memory from when my now-older kids were little. Cute scarecrow pictures are not as important, but continuing to build a strong family bond is vital.
My focus is on togetherness. Going on a hike to soak in the cooling temperatures and leaf changes may seem small, but these walks always spark good discussions. The kids ask probing questions about nature, life and our family’s values. Slowing down to soak up the time together is full of rewards.
Moments together make our family bond feel unbreakable.
It is not the picture-perfect photo op that I seek. I am present for the smiles, the laughter, and to watch my children enjoying time together. A trip to a fall festival or pumpkin patch becomes an afternoon spent enjoying each other. Pumpkins are just a bonus.
Fall brings us the best playground weather of the year — a time to be outside and not have to plan around the temperature. My teens may resist the idea of playground time at first, but, they always join in.
When we arrive, there is a moment when they question, “Am I too old to enjoy this?” And then they are off! They play away like they never cared a moment about their age. Moods always improve with free time to run.
It makes my mama heart happy to see them play.
In a time when kids are growing up so quickly, it is pure enjoyment to watch them just play. Climbing a structure, playing tag with friends, and exploring the park brings them such joy. When I focus on the simple beauty and moments of the outdoors, my children learn to appreciate it, too.
Each season of life brings its own opportunity for family connection. Fall is ripe with chances to seek out quality time. Each special event can turn into valued memories of time well spent together. That is the reward.